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TUESDAY, MAY 29, 2012, 9:45 A.M.

Discover Pass gets boost from marketers

STATE PARKS -- Washington's Discover Pass, a vehicle permit required in state parks and other public lands, is getting help from a public relations firm to boost lagging sales.

The pass was created by the Washington Legislature to fund the State Parks System.

A public relations firm, Weber Shandwick, has a $157,500 state contract and a mission to promote social networking is building a new website to encourage visitors to post pictures, videos, stories and recommendations from their trips to Washington's more than 100 state parks.

The contractor's plan involves strategies on everything from Twitter use to greater visibility for Washington State Parks' mascot - tentatively known as Eager Beaver.

According to a story in the Olympian, the agency is involved in another bid process to create a mobile-device app, and is also hiring a marketing coordinator.

The parks agency originally predicted the Discover Pass would raise $32 million a year, most of it dedicated to parks. But it brought in just $11.3 million in its first 10 months which ended in April.

Ilene Frisch, assistant director for administration at the state Parks and Recreation Commission, said the pass is now meeting new, lower projections. Lawmakers are hopeful a change they made this year in response to complaints will help sales. Pass holders are now allowed to transfer their passes to a second car.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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